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Misleading information about the sugar content of wines by the BBC

February 21: A recent BBC article, inferring and claiming that “analysis of more than 30 bottles of wine revealed that two glasses could be enough to reach the recommended daily sugar limit for adults”, seems absurd, says Subhash Arora who finds it more of a catch for the Alcohol Health Alliance UK who ‘conducted’ the research which found some bottles had up to 59g of sugar, although he believes information on sugar content and the calories could be given on the label, although this would make the labeling more complex

An independent lab analyzed a mixed batch of 30 bottles of red, white, rose, fruit and sparkling wine from popular British brands. None of the bottles had nutrition information on the labels (not required by law worldwide), while calorie content was only displayed on about 20% of the samples tested. Many consumers want a change to let wine drinkers know how many calories and how much sugar they are consuming.

The NHS recommends that adults consume a maximum of 30 g of “free sugars” per day, which includes sugar in fruit juices and smoothies, or sugar added to food or drink. The analysis claims that it is possible to reach an adult’s daily sugar limit by drinking even two medium-sized glasses of certain wines.

Here are some of the top reviews made by savvy readers of BBC on the article:

“Most bottles of wine contain about a teaspoon of sugar (4g). This anti-alcohol group just chose a sweet wine to create a ridiculous and hypocritical comparison to a doughnut. The only lesson to be learned from the ” Alcohol Health Alliance’ is that if you want to avoid too much sugar in wine, be sure to go for a higher alcohol content” -Fred

“Absolute bullshit. This survey focused on sweet wines, semi-sweet rosé wines and fruit wines. Standard dry white and red wines contain less than 5 grams per liter of sugar. Most of the calories in dry wine or red wine come from carbohydrates in alcohol. It is completely misleading. Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Malbec, Merlot, Shiraz, etc. do not contain a lot of sugar – less than half a teaspoon for 75cl” – Grand Master T.

“This article is ridiculous because when they say ‘certain wines’ they mean sweet wine – how many people drink this? A dry white – much more popular, has almost no sugar” – Pedro321

The BBC article fails to note that most wines consumed today are dry wines with a sugar content of 0-2 g/litre. Here are 5 of the wines of the to taste of 30 with the sugar content (g) in a 750 ml bottle:

Barefoot Sparkling Muscat Rose


Barefoot Pink Moscato Rosé wine


Echo Falls Fruit Fusion Summer Berries (9%)

fruit wine


Echo Falls Summer Berries Sparkling Wine


Echo Falls Fruit Fusion Summer Berries (5.5%)

fruit wine


They are not talking about dry red wines which are by definition 0-5g/LITER of sugar and most high quality wines barely have 1-2g of residual sugar/litre! (Residual sugar is the amount that can be found in a bottle when all the liquid contents are removed and only solids remain. A glass of coke (about 150ml) will contain about 16g of sugar – the 12 oz cans have 39 grams of sugar while a chocolate glazed donut has about 13-30 grams of sugar, even Starbucks Caffe Latte has about 17 grams of sugar.

Likewise, wine is projected as a high-calorie product in the study. The sample taken from the AHK UK site indicates wines with around 113-120 calories per standard 150ml glass (if you check their websiteyou will notice that the standard medium glass has been taken as 175mL whereas in most places in the world it is 150mL (delWine has always offered a 125mL glass as the standard glass – unfortunately we were unable to convince restaurants and consumers – that would have meant cheaper wine by the glass and less alcohol and calories in the system.)

To put it into perspective, a cheese whopper from Burger King has 740 calories, an average portion of fries at McDonald’s has 330 calories. Even the harmless-looking samosa contained 262 calories! What makes you gain weight, if you’re not careful, is the food and snacks you take with the wines you drink.

So don’t blame wine for too much sugar or too many fattening calories. A healthy meal would contain no more than 2 glasses of red wine – white wines tend to contain more sugar, less alcohol and fewer calories. We recommend dry red wines with less than 14% alcohol – and can assure our readers that sugar will never be an issue – not calories! A little self-education will help you in India. And you don’t have to blindly trust the BBC and certainly not the Alcohol Alliance UK.

Arora sub-hash

delWine continues to recommend 2 glasses (125 mL) of wine, preferably red wine and with meals for men and one glass for women – Editor

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